Where does one begin to talk about what happened to the Maple Leafs at the hands of the Boston Bruins? The Maple Leafs lose 5-1 in game one, if the score wasn’t concerning it was definitely the play of the Maple Leafs with a few exceptions. Outside of Zach Hyman, Leo Komarov and Frederik Andersen, the other players left much to be desired. The Maple Leafs big men weren’t a factor as the Bruins top line not only kept Matthews, Nylander and Marner off the scoring sheet but lighting up the Maple Leafs top players.
Social media was a blaze with comments around the officiating, the “bully” Bruins and their physical play. But that doesn’t explain the anemic power play (which went 0-3), lack of focus, lack of physical presence and also gone missing the speed that made the rest of the league envious.
What we witnessed was team that arrived at the Boston Gardens not ready to start the game and one that showed their nerves in a jammed back Boston Gardens. Boston from puck drop dominated all aspects of the game, with the exception of about 18 minutes, Boston took the game to the Maple Leafs with no response from the young Maple Leafs and the result was a drumming and hopefully a wake-up call to the Leafs.
Once again, the team was punished for their undisciplined play giving the Bruins six power plays and Boston made the Maple Leafs pay by scoring three times on those power plays. The result last night, wasn’t the result of some conspiracy against the Maple Leafs. If there were a conspiracy, the Maple Leafs conspired against themselves to have one of their worst games all season. I appreciated Kadri’s play as of late, but that hit on Wingels was questionable at best and punishable by suspension at worst. It should come at no surprise to anyone that now the Maple Leafs find themselves a man down as Kadri was given a three-game suspension for the hit.
All Kadri had to do was take Wingels’ number and challenge him to a fight. Get your pound flesh, show the Bruins some push back and not have to face discipline after the fact. What Kadri did was selfish, now the Maple Leafs find themselves in tough down 1-0 in the series and without their number two centre. If beating Boston was already tough, this hasn’t made the task any easier.
The only positive one can take from last night is that the Maple Leafs can’t play any worse, it was a forgettable game that the Maple Leafs should and need to put behind them. Key for tomorrow is to take what was learned from this disastrous game and overcome the adversity with some strong work ethic and fight.
The Maple Leafs led by Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner will need to give more now that they will be playing down a man for three games. Scoring early and putting some early pressure on the Bruins will allow for the Maple Leafs to regain some momentum and hopefully take game two. Anything less and the game will be lost, the series soon to follow if they can’t find the rhythm that saw finish top ten in the NHL.